The involvement of integrins in mediating interaction of cells to well-characterized proteolytic fragments (P1, E3, and E8) of laminin was assessed by antibody blocking studies. Cell adhesion to fragment P1 was affected by mAbs against the integrin beta 1 and beta 3 subunits and furthermore could be prevented completely by a synthetic peptide containing the Arg-Gly-Asp sequence. Because the beta 3 antibody-sensitive cell lines expressed the vitronectin receptor (alpha v beta 3) at high levels, the involvement of this receptor in cell adhesion to P1 is strongly suggested. Integrin-mediated cell adhesion to E3 is of low affinity and was inhibited by antibodies against the integrin beta 1 subunit. In contrast, adhesion of some cell types to E3 was not or only partially sensitive to inhibition by anti-integrin subunit antibodies. Cell adhesion to E8 was blocked completed by integrin alpha 6 or beta 1 antibodies. The alpha 6-specific antibody did not inhibit cell adhesion to E3 or P1. Furthermore, the antibody only blocked adhesion to laminin of those cells that adhered exclusively to the E8 fragment. In addition, expression of alpha 6 beta 1 was closely correlated with the ability of cells to bind to the E8 fragment of laminin. These results indicate that the alpha 6 beta 1 integrin is a specific receptor for the E8 fragment of laminin. Many cell types expressed, instead of or in addition to alpha 6 beta 1 the recently described integrin alpha 6 beta 4. Although the ligand of alpha 6 beta 4 was not identified, it must be different from that of alpha 6 beta 1, because cells that express alpha 6 beta 4, but not alpha 6 beta 1, do not adhere to E8, and cell adhesion to E8 was specifically blocked by beta 1 specific antibodies. In conclusion, the data indicate that distinct integrin receptors belonging to the beta 1 or beta 3 subfamily are involved in adhesion of cells to the various laminin fragments. Adhesion to E3 may also be brought about by other receptor molecules, possibly proteoglycans, not belonging to the integrin family.

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